What Car? says...
You could see this latest Ford Tourneo Connect as a rebadged variant of another brand's van-based MPV but that would be to sell it short.
Well, first you need to know that Ford's partner in this model has been in the van game since launching the VW Type 2 panel van more than 70 years ago. In other words, the Tourneo Connect is the result of two van specialists coming together to pool a vast amount of knowledge and resources.
Many of the basics remain the same between the two models, including the choice of engines: a 1.5-litre petrol or a 2.0-litre diesel. The choice of gearboxes is identical too.
They're also a match when it comes to versatility, with two van lengths available for each. You can have the Tourneo Connect as a standard short-wheelbase version or the longer Grand model. Ford gives you five seats, unless you select the option to upgrade to seven.
With so much in common, there must be other reasons for the Ford Tourneo Connect achieving a higher score than its near twin – and there are. We'll tell you all about them over the next few pages of this review, where we'll cover all the important qualities, including performance and handling, running costs and luggage space.
We'll also rate the Tourneo Connect against rival van-based MPVs, which are becoming rarer as more car makers replace them with electric versions (the Citroën e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Rifter, and Vauxhall Combo-e Life for example). In fact, the Caddy and the forthcoming Mercedes T-Class are really the only similar-sized competitors in that class, although you might also be considering the Dacia Jogger.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Ford Tourneo Connect comes with either a 112bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine or a 2.0-litre diesel with 120bhp. A lower output 101bhp 2.0-litre diesel will be coming later. They're all available with a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed double-clutch automatic.
So far, we’ve driven the 120bhp 2.0-litre diesel with the auto gearbox. It can take a moment before everything hooks up and you set off, but once you do, performance is more than adequate thanks to plenty of low-end shove. There aren’t performance figure as of yet, but since it’s based on the Caddy, we expect the 0-62mph time to be around 11.8sec for the long-wheelbase Grand model, and a bit less for the smaller version.
The automatic gearbox delivers quick and smooth gear changes once you're on the move. We've tried the same six-speed manual box in the VW Caddy Cargo van and it has a slick, purposeful shift action, so we anticipate the same to be true in the Tourneo Connect.
The diesel engine is a bit grumbly at idle and really needs the extra seventh gear to keep engine noise low at a cruise. The steep windscreen and chunky door mirrors mean there's greater wind noise than more car-like MPVs too.
The driving experience in the Tourneo Connect is fortunately not dissimilar to a car, with accurate steering and strong brakes. Even so, due to its height and weight, it can’t match the composure of the best MPVs – the VW Touran for example.
Mercifully, the ride on the standard 17in wheels has a similar amount of suppleness as the Dacia Jogger and body lean isn’t as extreme as you might expect in such a tall vehicle. Grip levels are ample, and it can cope with you trying to get a wriggle on down a country road.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The Ford Tourneo Connect is a step ahead of the mechanically similar VW Caddy here, because as well as that car's range of adjustments in the seat and steering wheel, it also has adjustable lumbar support as standard. Likewise, front and rear parking sensors are standard on the Tourneo Connect, whereas you’ll have to go for pricier Life trim in the Caddy to get them. A rear-view camera remains the reserve of the options list, although that's not the end of the world because the big windows give you a fine view out.
As per the Caddy, the Tourneo Connect has a disappointing interior that’s full of hard plastics. Only the armrests get soft surfaces, which marks down the Tourneo against the Dacia Jogger with its tasteful cloth trim and satin chrome accents. There are a few storage options dotted over the dashboard and central console, which also has twin cupholders.
All versions of Tourneo Connect get the larger 10in touchscreen infotainment screen that’s reserved for the options list of the Caddy. Sat-nav is standard, as is DAB radio and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity.
Having a larger screen is useful, but the infotainment is basically a Volkswagen system that first saw the light of day in the VW Golf and is not the best. A Ford ‘skin’ has been applied over the top, but it has the same confusing menu arrangement. The lack of physical (or illuminated) controls for the air-con becomes infuriating, especially at night. Even changing the volume of the radio can be fiddly, and is best done using the buttons on the steering wheel.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
So far, we've tested the Tourneo Connect in Grand (long-wheelbase) form with seven seats. We have tried the closely related VW Caddy in five-seat, standard wheelbase form, so this section is based on our experiences with both.
The rear in both wheelbase sizes is wide enough to allow three adults to sit side by side with only mild shoulder rubbing. Leg room isn’t particularly generous in the standard wheelbase version, though, and you can't slide the seats back and forth (as you can in the VW Touran).
The way the two front seats are arranged means the two outer back-seat passengers have to sit slightly skewed to fit their feet under the seat ahead of them. The Grand with its much longer wheelbase allows for the rear seats to be pushed back further, liberating more leg room, so the Grand Tourneo Connect is the one to go for if you regularly transport taller people.
The third row (if specified) is mounted fairly close to the floor, so under-thigh support is lacking. Leg room is tolerable for adults (more so than in the Seat Tarraco and VW Tiguan Allspace third rows), while head room is excellent.
You get twin sliding rear doors, but there’s a high sill to clamber over to get in, which might cause problems for passengers with mobility issues.
Boot capacity is excellent in five-seat configuration for either wheelbase option, particularly with the optional third row removed. Official capacity as configured would be 1100 litres for the shorter model, or 1452 litres for the Grand, so any size of pushchair or bicycle will fit in, and if your fold or remove all the rear seats, you’ll have yourself a removal van.
Standard wheelbase models with all seven seats in place have a very small boot, but the similarly equipped Grand has a decent amount of cargo space behind its rearmost seats.
As with many van-based MPVs, the rear boot hatch is a huge panel that requires a certain amount of clearance to open, so make sure you don’t park too close to anything behind you. There is the option to have it open electrically to make life a little easier.
There's no handy glass window you can open independently to grab smaller items, which is a shame. You can get one of those on the electric van rivals (the Citroën e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Rifter, and Vauxhall Combo-e Life).
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The Ford Tourneo Connect shares a lot with the VW Caddy – but not that model's fairly high pricing. It's more in line with the discontinued Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life (now only available as electric cars). That still makes it pricier than the seven-seat Dacia Jogger though.
Although finance quotes weren’t available at the time of writing, the Tourneo Connect has similar residual values to the Caddy. That should make it competitive if you're buying on PCP (future values form an important part of the calculations).
Official fuel economy and emissions are respectable for this type of vehicle, with the petrol besting 40mpg and the diesels getting into the mid-50s mpg.
If you are looking for an MPV as a company car you'll be far better off if you go for an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. The e-Berlingo, e-Rifter and Combo-e Life, for example, have very low company car tax rates.
The Tourneo Connect shares the same five-star Euro NCAP safety rating as the Caddy because it benefits from lots of standard safety aids. You get automatic emergency braking (AEB) with cyclist and pedestrian detection, along with lane-keeping assistance as standard. Adaptive cruise control and road-sign detection are all optional. The Jogger did very badly in this area, getting only one NCAP star.
As a brand, Ford ranked a lowly 27th out of 32 manufacturers in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey – lower than Volkswagen, and way behind Dacia. You get a fairly good three-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
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|RRP price range||£29,334 - £31,871|
|Number of trims (see all)||2|
|Number of engines (see all)||2|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||diesel, petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||51.4 - 68.9|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / 100000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£1,736 / £2,027|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£3,471 / £4,053|